As kids, many of us saw our parents clipping coupons and taking advantage of sales to help save money. Even if your parents weren’t expressly focused on saving at the grocery store, their financial decisions would have helped your family thrive through the thick and thin.
Today, clipping coupons is not realistic. It’s time-consuming, and one could also argue that coupons are a waste of paper. In most cases, flyers and coupon books barely make it through the door before being thrown in the trash or recycle bin.
If ten years ago, we were obsessed with rewards cards like Air Miles, today, we see those rewards shift to the smartphone and mobile platform. Cash back apps and rewards apps are the new rewards cards, which were the new coupons. These apps are changing the way consumers shop and save.
Why you should be using cash back and reward apps
Rewards programs are not new, but technology is reinventing them. Today’s consumers are always looking for a great deal, but we’ve gone ahead and changed the way we secure those deals.
Cash back and rewards apps make saving money fun. By making it an interactive game with points, missions, steps, and rewards, you can enjoy yourself while reaping the benefits of having a little .
But how do you capitalize on the best cash back and rewards apps? What should you focus on, what’s worth your time and how do you weed out the best deals?
Here are the top reward and cash back apps:
1. Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping has been coming on strong as THE go-to savings app for saving money when online shopping. Installation and/or downloading the app is 100% free and Capital One Shopping has a variety of ways you can earn rewards:
- Shop normally for your everyday purchases and when someone else finds a lower price for an item, Capital One Shopping alerts all of their users to the same low price.
- When it’s time to check-out, Capital One Shopping will try to apply coupon codes to your order. When it works for one user, Capital One Shopping will try it for you too!
- Earn credits when you make purchases online with many of the brands you know (like Walmart, eBay etc.) and use them to buy gift cards.
Capital One Shopping is powered by Capital One and perhaps their coolest feature is a universal barcode scanner where after a scan, they’ll scour the internet for a cheaper buy.Disclaimer - Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the browser extension using the links we provided.
Have you ever made a purchase, only for the item to go on sale the next week? Earny helps with that exactly. Simply add the extension to your Chrome browser and let Earny do the rest. The app monitors your purchases and alerts you when an item you’ve bought drops in price. It even checks your recent purchases for any price reductions that might make you eligible for a refund.
But one of Earny’s biggest benefits is its watchlist. When you see an item you want, put it on your watchlist and Earny will keep an eye on it. You can immediately see the price history of the item and gauge the likelihood that the price will drop in the future before buying. If you can wait, just leave the item in your watchlist and when the price drops, you’ll get an alert.
Earny is free, so there’s nothing to lose by adding it to your browser. You’ll start earning money on the shopping you do every week.
5. Fetch Rewards
Grocery shopping is a necessary chore, and clipping coupons is a time-consuming process. With Fetch Rewards, you just scan your store receipts to earn extra cash back on the products you bought. You’ll save when you buy from Fetch’s partner brands, which include many of the most popular products on the market. You’ll save for buying Kraft, Lipton, Cottonelle, Knorr, and many other brands.
You won’t just save on grocery receipts with Fetch. You can scan receipts from big-box retailers, liquor stores, convenience stores, and even club stores like Sam’s Club. All the big grocers are included, so whether you shop at Publix, Target, Walmart, or Kroger, you’re covered.
Prefer to shop online? You can do that, too. You’ll need to link up the email account you use on those sites, then search for receipts that have been delivered to your inbox. This is also a great way to make sure your e-delivered receipts at brick-and-mortar stores are included.
MyPoints is a rewards app that offers up to 40% back at 2,000 of the most common retailers. These retailers include stores like Target, Walmart, Amazon, Old Navy, eBay, and Home Depot. And the list of retailers is huge (over 2000) – these are just a few of my favorites.
You’ll earn points every time you shop at these stores, and you can redeem those points at any time. You can redeem them for gift cards or a credit to your PayPal account.
You can sign-up for MyPoints for free, and they’re currently offering a $10 sign-up bonus!
Swagbucks is another cash back app that wants to be a part of your life and the routine activities you would be doing online anyway. Watching online videos and taking short surveys will earn you gift cards. The polls will make you feel like you’re part of something bigger and the retailers are listening to your opinions. Bloggers and remote workers love this app, and it’s especially great for people who are home a lot of the time and want to earn cashback while going about their daily routine.
There are a lot of useful tips out there for using Swagbucks, and we recommend reading them before you start so that you can get the most out of this app. Bonus features and the ability to passively earn while playing Swagwatch and SBTV offer even more ways to reap the rewards. Signing up for the Swagbucks survey profile will help you receive more surveys that you qualify for, thus increasing your rewards potential and allowing you to have input with companies that fit your lifestyle and spending profile.
Whether you’re a walking enthusiast, spend a large part of your workday walking, or you just want to get fit, Bitwalking is the rewards app for you. Advertising themselves as the “new global currency,” Bitwalking will get you moving and participating in the larger world around you.
Bitwalking is egalitarian and practical. You’re not paid to walk; you generate the money on your own. So that means the woman in Uganda who walks five miles to get water every day is at the same advantage as the casual walker in San Diego who meets her walking group each morning. Bitwalking provides the platform to convert it to a currency that can be spent in the Bitwalking store or through third-party partners.
You can also trade walking dollars with other users. Walking dollars can also be transferred to anyone, anywhere in the world. Imagine earning money just from walking? It really gives new meaning to your resolution to get fit in 2018. You can potentially watch your waistline get slimmer while your wallet gets fatter.
Belly’s goal was to replace multiple loyalty programs with a straightforward app. You’ll often notice the Belly logo around the cash registers of some of your favorite stores or restaurants. Since it’s a “universal loyalty program” many different establishments use it at once, and you can collect points on one simple app replacing the numerous rewards cards you might have taking up precious space in your wallet.
Belly also has a unique feature where it can show you nearby stores and restaurants that are Belly participants, which could, in effect, influence your shopping decisions.
iBotta consistently scores well with savvy savers. It’s user-friendly and available for both iOS and Android. Just download the app and unlock the rebates. A series of tasks bring the idea of gamification to an otherwise tedious task, making saving money even more fun. Users see each job as a challenge that needs to be completed, and you can also get the whole family in on it.
Once you’re ready to go shopping, buy the products you’ve unlocked at any of the stores that are listed on the app. Next, you will need to verify your purchases by scanning the barcodes and submitting a photo of the receipt. You’re ready to cash in, and the money will appear in your iBotta account within 48 hours.
This app continues to evolve in its ease of use, which means the developers are responsive to reviews and actively seeking the best possible consumer experience. Many retailers allow you to process receipts in real-time, which means money in your pocket faster. Some of the benefits of iBotta include no more cutting and carrying coupons; you have one accessible portable device to start saving and earning money. According to iBotta, the average user is making about $30 a month. That’s $30 that you can keep or spend on something else.
Check out apps from specific stores, too
In addition to the third-party apps available with no formal affiliation to specific retailers, more stores are getting savvy when it comes to attracting customers who want to save. Target and Walmart are just a few stores that have taken their coupon clipping online in the form of apps. In many cases, the deals you find on the store’s unique apps can also be combined with sales from other apps, which will help you double or triple the savings in some cases.
Whether you’re saving for a specific goal or hoping to merely reduce expenses or get rewarded for the money you are already going to be spending, cash back and rewards apps today have a plethora of features that will make saving fun – and, it’s preactically .
Although the saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” we’re continuously learning that, in fact, technology can help us get that free lunch or movie ticket or gift card, after all.